Make-Ahead Meals

By EatingWell Editors

A little planning is all it takes to serve quick, delicious weeknight meals.

Be a Sunday Cook.

Cooking is a relaxing and rewarding way to spend an hour or two on the weekend. Pick some time when you can relax in the kitchen without having to rush through your recipes. Put on your favorite CD. Roast a chicken or turkey breast. Make a batch of soup or spaghetti sauce. Try making a salad with a whole grain like bulgur or whole-wheat couscous, canned beans and fresh vegetables, and toss it with some extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar for a quick lunch you can grab for the office or school. Take a look at the recipes you’ll be making in the coming week and see if there’s any prep you can do, like cutting up vegetables or trimming chicken breasts.

Save Leftovers for a Healthy Lunch.

When you’re cooking during the week, double the recipe and you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day or dinner for a busy night that week. Portioning leftovers into reusable containers even before you sit down makes for a quick start the next day.

The Perfect Make-Ahead Machine.

A great make-ahead tool is a slow cooker, or crock-pot. It can be used during the week or on the weekend to make soups, sauces or braised meats. Recipes made for slow cookers take anywhere from 2 to 10 hours to cook, so be sure to pick a recipe that fits your schedule that day. You’ll be rewarded with a lovely meal that took little time to prepare.